As COVID cases rise, LMAS Health Department issues Public Health Advisory

Eastern UP

Coronavirus delta variant. (File/Getty)

LUCE, MACKINAC, ALGER AND SCHOOLCRAFT COUNTIES – LMAS District Health Department is issuing this Public Health Advisory in response to the rapidly rising COVID cases in the District. There are 31 separate outbreaks in the Upper Peninsula, associated with long term care, healthcare facilities, religious services, sporting events, restaurants, private gatherings, and workplaces.

The Delta Variant of the virus which causes COVID has arrived in Michigan and in the Luce, Mackinac, Alger,
Schoolcraft region. In July 2021, the four counties added only 7 cases of COVID. From August 1 to August 27, 2021, LMAS has added 205 cases – a 2,829% increase. The State Bureau of Laboratories has informed us that 99% of all tests being sequenced, are the Delta Variant. The Upper Peninsula has had eight straight weeks of increases. The last two week period increase was 852 cases. The UP currently has more than four times the number of active cases as there were at this time in 2020.

The health department say Delta is twice as infectious as the original virus we were dealing with a year ago. To date, 0.2% of fully vaccinated in the LMAS counties have had breakthrough
infections.

Children under age 12 are still not eligible to be vaccinated, and only 21% of those age 12-15 in the District are fully vaccinated. Overall, the LMAS counties are 56% fully vaccinated, with the greatest numbers in those over the age of 65. We have been advised by the Region 8 Healthcare Coalition in the UP and Region 7 in Northern Lower Michigan that ICU bed availability is extremely tight along with EMS coverage. Hospitalizations across the region have gone up steadily over the past week. Emergency
department COVID visits are also trending up across the area.

In this Public Health Advisory, LMAS District Health Department is advising the following actions:

  1. Get your COVID vaccination as soon as possible. Appointments are available for anyone age 12 and older.
    Schedule online at LMASDHD.org or contact your local hospital or pharmacy.
  2. Wear a mask in all indoor settings when around people who do not live in your immediate household,
    regardless of vaccination status.
  3. Maintain distance from those not in your household.
  4. Stay home when you don’t feel well and get tested for COVID.
  5. Wash your hands, thoroughly and often.
  6. Isolate if you test positive and follow the instructions from the health department.
  7. Quarantine if you are identified as a close-contact of someone with COVID. If you are fully vaccinated and
    have no symptoms, you will not need to quarantine.
  8. Get your flu shot as soon as possible.

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